1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Harmony of the Seas
For a ship this size, embarkation and disembarkation were magically smooth. There was a little bit of a queue to be expected, I uploaded my sea pass photo in advance, not sure that made any difference but why not get it done online if you can? That also goes for making reservations for dining and entertainment ahead of boarding. Can't stress that enough. You can always make changes onboard like wait list your seating for dinner or shows for a different time or place, but at least start with something. It seemed our reservations were changed or eliminated a couple times - once when the ship automatically rescheduled a cancelled show at the aqua theatre. Using the Royal IQ app (onboard) it appeared our dinner reservations were cancelled as a result of the show time change, but when I called the restaurant to inquire they still had our reservations on hold. You can't always trust the app. But as an example of the Oasis Class compared to smaller ships, making reservations is something you'll need to do if you want to experience as much as you can with as little waiting as possible. I saw many lines of people waiting for shows and dinner. In every case those lines were for walk-ups without reservations. I don't recall waiting in any lines for shows or dinner. I'm not sure I love pre-planning so much and making so many reservations for things but it was great to have so many things to do, so...? Regarding shows and dinner...the shows were the best I've seen on any ship, ever. The venues helped make that happen as much as the talent. Obviously you wouldn't have a water show without a ship that has that type of theatre. The 1886 ice show and tech-visual effects, and similarly the Fine Line was amazing. WOW+ I was surprised how much I enjoyed Columbus The Musical. Really creative and well done with set pieces that moved along with a projection screen for really cool effects. And so thankful to have had reservations in most cases, arriving before they opened the floodgates to a long standby line of guests waiting to attend. We ate at the MDR once for lunch and twice for dinner. We had My Time Dining so never the same wait staff. We just happened to eat on all three levels, Silk, The Grande, and The American Icon. The only difference is the decor. My Time Dining does take a little away from the experience, trading convenience and flexibility for more personalized service and familiarity. The servers were extremely busy but brought everything we asked for. However I missed that friendly, genuine smile and ultra-attentive service. Remembering other ships when I'd ask about which item to get and they'd surprise me with both? Don't have room for dessert - you got one anyway. That didn't happen here. A second lobster tail? Maybe if you asked. Speaking with a couple returning to their rooms after dinner who identified as Diamond+, they said this was the first time the server wouldn't bring them surf & turf, i.e.: beef with the lobster tail, their server explaining that they could have the beef the following night. And maybe this is getting too nitty but it reminds me of when I asked about a veggie burger patty at the Windjammer once at lunch. They said I could get one downstairs at Mini Bites. So I did, and I waited in line down there and asked if they would make one. And they did, and I brought the patty on a plate back up to the Windjammer to make a burger to eat with the rest of my family, but I just believe that on a smaller ship the kitchen might have offered to get one for me. All in all, I got a veggie patty and it was awesome. I didn't really mind going downstairs. Did they WOW me? I guess only in the sense that they had veggie burger patties off menu that I was able to get. I really appreciated that accommodation. The bartenders were BUSY. No doubt the drink package is a bar staff grinder. Most of the people ordering drinks seemed to have the package and the bar staff could barely keep up - but they did and bravo to them. But honestly I bet the premium bev package is a bartender's nightmare. It provides little opportunity to WOW your customers, virtually no opportunity for additional gratuity, and no economic pressure to control customer volume. I had the package and loved not thinking about what I was spending. But I see that my pleasure comes at a price, not just to the bartenders but to me as a customer lacking that personal interaction with someone that I might like to know more about from a country far away. Frankly in this environment I was just as satisfied ordering drinks from the Bionic Bar. But the robots don't ask you how the drink tastes, or if you want to try something new, or how your day is going...and the human bartenders really don't have time for that either. I tried to be the most patient and considerate customer at the bars - waiting to be recognized in turn, and giving my decisive drink order without the need for consultation or delay. I received great service if you're judging that on the simple question of if you received your drink without a terribly long wait, prepared as requested. But pretty much no one had time for chit chat and that was a difference I recognized on the Oasis class. Choices! There were a lot of places to eat and enjoy the entertainment and most all of it was good stuff. The Solarium Bistro and Park Cafe were wonderful complementary options. Mini Bites was fun too. Escape the Rubicon, Jazz on 4, The Attic, The Bionic Bar - smaller ships don't have the room for so many individual venues. Instead the smaller ships have more generic, flexible spaces that are used for multiple purposes throughout the cruise. That's not as exciting as walking into a new venue each day of the trip and still having venues at the end of the cruise that you didn't have time to visit. If there was one thing different, I missed having a midnight buffet on the pool deck. The daytime pool contest like belly flop were held at the aqua theatre so it was less obvious and I missed it, but I saw it later on the TV. Some other ships would roll out a grill by the pool for lunch where on this one there was a grill going most of the day at Mini Bites. So the need for impromptu buffets and interruptions to a pool day for contests is no longer needed to meet the requirements of food and entertainment expectations. On Oasis class it's all built in. But that can also seem a little less WOW because it's always there. The surprises are minimized. Or depending on how you look at it, a little more WOW because it's always there and you know what to expect. Ports and shore excursions? I didn't get off the ship in Nassau, the time in port was too short. But it did seem like a bit lighter morning by the pool so for that I was thankful. We did RCI's Discover Scuba Diving in St. Thomas and LOVED it. It was my first time scuba diving and while very nervous about it all, I am so glad to have experienced it. I almost can't believe it happened. THAT is an excursion that I would recommend and an experience that you can't have every day. WOW+. We took Bernard's Tours in St. Maartin on a private van. Our driver probably took us to the same places that the group tours go but it was worth the extra money to have a break from all the other passengers for a day. And Bernard's was great but you couldn't book with them for a private tour through the RCI website. I prefer to book through RCI for the peace of mind that I won't be left behind if the tour runs late. That was definitely on my mind on this tour with us stuck in heavy traffic on our way back to the ship. But of course Bernards probably knew exactly what to expect and everything was perfect. Cabin? We had a D3 larger balcony, loved the extra space outside. Of course the ship is new so everything was in great condition and in good working order. Nice size space, calming interior design, more than enough hangers and drawer space for 2. Comfortable bed, great linens. Cabin attendant always had a smile, kept the bed made, fresh towels and bathroom clean. At the beginning of the cruise we asked for extra pillows, robes, and an extra comforter. No need for ice. She was on it and that was about the last we interacted other than smiles in the hall. There was a sewage poop smell occasionally, that signature smell that mysteriously comes and goes from time to time in a ship cabin or on a particular deck. I never quite know why that happens. Oh, I should mention that the room service menu now has a fee for many items. This was kind of disappointing. Not that I care about a few dollars, but that RCI does. The change in the room service menu felt a little like the absence of chocolates on your pillow at night. It's not about the cost, or the food, it's about the offering of service and what is included as complimentary in your stateroom. It seems petty but I bet the lack of chocolates on the pillow reduced tips for room attendants. And I bet the fee for room service will reduce tips for wait staff. Loved the water slides, Flowrider, the Abyss slide was okay but not nearly as fun as the water slides. Too many cocktails to endure the carousel on the Boardwalk but it looked neat for the kids. And in that area we ate at Sabor for dinner - it was good enough but shouldn't have had chips and cheese dip at Mini Bites so soon before - ugh, one of many poor choices in the face of gluttony and over-indulgence. We ate at Johnny Rockets for breakfast (no charge) and was a nice change for a made-to-order omelette, very attentive staff there I should particularly mention. Other than the Park Cafe, we didn't spend much time in Central Park. Other than Sorrento's we didn't spend much time on the Promenade. We did spend a fair amount of time in the adults-only Solarium which was a priceless retreat away from the noise. (Although I endured the noise for a $2 per minute massage on a table set up between the kids area and the beach pool. $80 was a small price to pay comparably and a really smart thing for them to do when they are not busy indoors at The Spa.) We saved our last dinner for Wonderland on the final night and I'd strongly recommend that. First, you've got to try Wonderland - it's the most interesting restaurant on the ship. But next, wait until the end because by then you'll have had so much of everything that saving one thing special, one meal that is not overwhelmingly heavy or large for the last night, it was just a really nice way to close out the trip. So thinking back do I need all the extra Oasis Class options to enjoy 7 days on the sea? I don't think I do. But I really enjoyed the variety of food venues and the amazing entertainment. The ship is incredible like nothing I've seen. I had the time of my life and will definitely take another RCI cruise. But my sights are next for the Quantum Class or (I keep saying it) am I ready for a switch to Celebrity? I've been WOW'd with options and technology on Oasis class, but may need to step to the side a bit if I want to experience the WOW of meaningful interactions with crew, maybe a surprise taco night on the top deck, and a bit more personal attention in the future. You just can't have it all, all at the same time. PS: Not specific to any class of ship but I don't like the concept of prepaid gratuities. Charge me a service fee for staff but don't expect me to consider it gratuity. Gratuities are gestures of appreciation that are personal, customary but traditionally optional - if you take the personal part of a cruise experience away, eliminate the tip vouchers, and leave me an envelope for extra gratuities for someone that WOW'd me? Don't bother with the envelope. I think people know how to show appreciation for above average service. Please don't take staff's opportunity to provide above average service away from them, while also impacting the guest's ability to express gratitude for average (and above average) service. I think this area needs some work that empowers the guests in favor of the staff, who we are all so grateful for.

My Oasis Class Experience

Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review by filamino

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
For a ship this size, embarkation and disembarkation were magically smooth. There was a little bit of a queue to be expected, I uploaded my sea pass photo in advance, not sure that made any difference but why not get it done online if you can? That also goes for making reservations for dining and entertainment ahead of boarding. Can't stress that enough. You can always make changes onboard like wait list your seating for dinner or shows for a different time or place, but at least start with something. It seemed our reservations were changed or eliminated a couple times - once when the ship automatically rescheduled a cancelled show at the aqua theatre. Using the Royal IQ app (onboard) it appeared our dinner reservations were cancelled as a result of the show time change, but when I called the restaurant to inquire they still had our reservations on hold. You can't always trust the app. But as an example of the Oasis Class compared to smaller ships, making reservations is something you'll need to do if you want to experience as much as you can with as little waiting as possible. I saw many lines of people waiting for shows and dinner. In every case those lines were for walk-ups without reservations. I don't recall waiting in any lines for shows or dinner. I'm not sure I love pre-planning so much and making so many reservations for things but it was great to have so many things to do, so...?

Regarding shows and dinner...the shows were the best I've seen on any ship, ever. The venues helped make that happen as much as the talent. Obviously you wouldn't have a water show without a ship that has that type of theatre. The 1886 ice show and tech-visual effects, and similarly the Fine Line was amazing. WOW+ I was surprised how much I enjoyed Columbus The Musical. Really creative and well done with set pieces that moved along with a projection screen for really cool effects. And so thankful to have had reservations in most cases, arriving before they opened the floodgates to a long standby line of guests waiting to attend. We ate at the MDR once for lunch and twice for dinner. We had My Time Dining so never the same wait staff. We just happened to eat on all three levels, Silk, The Grande, and The American Icon. The only difference is the decor. My Time Dining does take a little away from the experience, trading convenience and flexibility for more personalized service and familiarity. The servers were extremely busy but brought everything we asked for. However I missed that friendly, genuine smile and ultra-attentive service. Remembering other ships when I'd ask about which item to get and they'd surprise me with both? Don't have room for dessert - you got one anyway. That didn't happen here. A second lobster tail? Maybe if you asked. Speaking with a couple returning to their rooms after dinner who identified as Diamond+, they said this was the first time the server wouldn't bring them surf & turf, i.e.: beef with the lobster tail, their server explaining that they could have the beef the following night. And maybe this is getting too nitty but it reminds me of when I asked about a veggie burger patty at the Windjammer once at lunch. They said I could get one downstairs at Mini Bites. So I did, and I waited in line down there and asked if they would make one. And they did, and I brought the patty on a plate back up to the Windjammer to make a burger to eat with the rest of my family, but I just believe that on a smaller ship the kitchen might have offered to get one for me. All in all, I got a veggie patty and it was awesome. I didn't really mind going downstairs. Did they WOW me? I guess only in the sense that they had veggie burger patties off menu that I was able to get. I really appreciated that accommodation.

The bartenders were BUSY. No doubt the drink package is a bar staff grinder. Most of the people ordering drinks seemed to have the package and the bar staff could barely keep up - but they did and bravo to them. But honestly I bet the premium bev package is a bartender's nightmare. It provides little opportunity to WOW your customers, virtually no opportunity for additional gratuity, and no economic pressure to control customer volume. I had the package and loved not thinking about what I was spending. But I see that my pleasure comes at a price, not just to the bartenders but to me as a customer lacking that personal interaction with someone that I might like to know more about from a country far away. Frankly in this environment I was just as satisfied ordering drinks from the Bionic Bar. But the robots don't ask you how the drink tastes, or if you want to try something new, or how your day is going...and the human bartenders really don't have time for that either. I tried to be the most patient and considerate customer at the bars - waiting to be recognized in turn, and giving my decisive drink order without the need for consultation or delay. I received great service if you're judging that on the simple question of if you received your drink without a terribly long wait, prepared as requested. But pretty much no one had time for chit chat and that was a difference I recognized on the Oasis class.

Choices! There were a lot of places to eat and enjoy the entertainment and most all of it was good stuff. The Solarium Bistro and Park Cafe were wonderful complementary options. Mini Bites was fun too. Escape the Rubicon, Jazz on 4, The Attic, The Bionic Bar - smaller ships don't have the room for so many individual venues. Instead the smaller ships have more generic, flexible spaces that are used for multiple purposes throughout the cruise. That's not as exciting as walking into a new venue each day of the trip and still having venues at the end of the cruise that you didn't have time to visit. If there was one thing different, I missed having a midnight buffet on the pool deck. The daytime pool contest like belly flop were held at the aqua theatre so it was less obvious and I missed it, but I saw it later on the TV. Some other ships would roll out a grill by the pool for lunch where on this one there was a grill going most of the day at Mini Bites. So the need for impromptu buffets and interruptions to a pool day for contests is no longer needed to meet the requirements of food and entertainment expectations. On Oasis class it's all built in. But that can also seem a little less WOW because it's always there. The surprises are minimized. Or depending on how you look at it, a little more WOW because it's always there and you know what to expect.

Ports and shore excursions? I didn't get off the ship in Nassau, the time in port was too short. But it did seem like a bit lighter morning by the pool so for that I was thankful. We did RCI's Discover Scuba Diving in St. Thomas and LOVED it. It was my first time scuba diving and while very nervous about it all, I am so glad to have experienced it. I almost can't believe it happened. THAT is an excursion that I would recommend and an experience that you can't have every day. WOW+. We took Bernard's Tours in St. Maartin on a private van. Our driver probably took us to the same places that the group tours go but it was worth the extra money to have a break from all the other passengers for a day. And Bernard's was great but you couldn't book with them for a private tour through the RCI website. I prefer to book through RCI for the peace of mind that I won't be left behind if the tour runs late. That was definitely on my mind on this tour with us stuck in heavy traffic on our way back to the ship. But of course Bernards probably knew exactly what to expect and everything was perfect.

Cabin? We had a D3 larger balcony, loved the extra space outside. Of course the ship is new so everything was in great condition and in good working order. Nice size space, calming interior design, more than enough hangers and drawer space for 2. Comfortable bed, great linens. Cabin attendant always had a smile, kept the bed made, fresh towels and bathroom clean. At the beginning of the cruise we asked for extra pillows, robes, and an extra comforter. No need for ice. She was on it and that was about the last we interacted other than smiles in the hall. There was a sewage poop smell occasionally, that signature smell that mysteriously comes and goes from time to time in a ship cabin or on a particular deck. I never quite know why that happens. Oh, I should mention that the room service menu now has a fee for many items. This was kind of disappointing. Not that I care about a few dollars, but that RCI does. The change in the room service menu felt a little like the absence of chocolates on your pillow at night. It's not about the cost, or the food, it's about the offering of service and what is included as complimentary in your stateroom. It seems petty but I bet the lack of chocolates on the pillow reduced tips for room attendants. And I bet the fee for room service will reduce tips for wait staff.

Loved the water slides, Flowrider, the Abyss slide was okay but not nearly as fun as the water slides. Too many cocktails to endure the carousel on the Boardwalk but it looked neat for the kids. And in that area we ate at Sabor for dinner - it was good enough but shouldn't have had chips and cheese dip at Mini Bites so soon before - ugh, one of many poor choices in the face of gluttony and over-indulgence. We ate at Johnny Rockets for breakfast (no charge) and was a nice change for a made-to-order omelette, very attentive staff there I should particularly mention. Other than the Park Cafe, we didn't spend much time in Central Park. Other than Sorrento's we didn't spend much time on the Promenade. We did spend a fair amount of time in the adults-only Solarium which was a priceless retreat away from the noise. (Although I endured the noise for a $2 per minute massage on a table set up between the kids area and the beach pool. $80 was a small price to pay comparably and a really smart thing for them to do when they are not busy indoors at The Spa.) We saved our last dinner for Wonderland on the final night and I'd strongly recommend that. First, you've got to try Wonderland - it's the most interesting restaurant on the ship. But next, wait until the end because by then you'll have had so much of everything that saving one thing special, one meal that is not overwhelmingly heavy or large for the last night, it was just a really nice way to close out the trip.

So thinking back do I need all the extra Oasis Class options to enjoy 7 days on the sea? I don't think I do. But I really enjoyed the variety of food venues and the amazing entertainment. The ship is incredible like nothing I've seen. I had the time of my life and will definitely take another RCI cruise. But my sights are next for the Quantum Class or (I keep saying it) am I ready for a switch to Celebrity? I've been WOW'd with options and technology on Oasis class, but may need to step to the side a bit if I want to experience the WOW of meaningful interactions with crew, maybe a surprise taco night on the top deck, and a bit more personal attention in the future. You just can't have it all, all at the same time.

PS: Not specific to any class of ship but I don't like the concept of prepaid gratuities. Charge me a service fee for staff but don't expect me to consider it gratuity. Gratuities are gestures of appreciation that are personal, customary but traditionally optional - if you take the personal part of a cruise experience away, eliminate the tip vouchers, and leave me an envelope for extra gratuities for someone that WOW'd me? Don't bother with the envelope. I think people know how to show appreciation for above average service. Please don't take staff's opportunity to provide above average service away from them, while also impacting the guest's ability to express gratitude for average (and above average) service. I think this area needs some work that empowers the guests in favor of the staff, who we are all so grateful for.
filamino’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email